Today, I spent most of my afternoon at the Capstone Symposium for Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. This annual event showcases design projects completed by student teams in their fourth year of their program. Shown below is a photograph I took of some of the teams presenting their projects in the atrium of our Engineering 7 building.
As many Waterloo Engineering applicants have now discovered, early offers of admission have appeared on Quest. If you are one of the lucky few with an early offer of admission, you should be very proud of what you have achieved. Applicants with early offers of admission on Quest should receive an e-mail within the next week. Please review this e-mail carefully as it provides some very important information for you.
Remember that all early offers of admission typically come with conditions to be satisfied. Most applicants still have one or more required courses to complete. Every year, there are a few applicants who unfortunately fail to successfully complete one or more conditions resulting in their offers being automatically revoked. As you might suspect, doing poorly on a final exam in a required secondary school course can have some very undesirable consequences. A handful of admission offers for Fall 2018 were revoked last July due to unsatisfied conditions.
If you were not fortunate enough to receive an early offer of admission, take comfort in the fact that approximately 70% of all admission offers are sent out in May. Many great applicants were not accepted early simply due to our highly competitive admission process. By waiting until May, we can use 2nd semester midterm grades to improve our average predictions. This helps us ensure that applicants accepted to our programs are highly likely to be successful at university.
During the early admission round, we looked for students with the following characteristics:
- Strong communication skills – An applicant with demonstrated strong communication skills was more likely to be selected.
- Consistent grades – An applicant with consistently good grades in both Grade 11 and Grade 12 was more likely to be selected.
- Variety of extra-curricular activities – An applicant with significant breadth and depth of extra-curricular activities was more likely to be selected.
- Significant work or volunteer experience – An applicant with any significant work or volunteer experience was more likely to be selected.
- Knowledge of engineering discipline – An applicant with a demonstrated knowledge of the chosen engineering discipline was more likely to be accepted.
It is quite possible that we missed out on accepting some truly exceptional applicants. It is a difficult challenge to select applicants in a very short period of time based on preliminary grade data and AIF data. We do our best given the resources available at the time. With over 11,000 applicants, the task of selecting top students is a challenging one.
Some applicants might be very surprised to know how important AIF data can be during the assessment of an applicant. We do not simply rank students by their predicted Grade 12 averages and select the top 30%. We do individual selection. We review the AIF data, we review all available grade data, and we attempt to select those students that we feel are most likely to succeed in our programs.
A common question that has already been asked by a few applicants is whether adjustment factors prevented applicants from certain schools from receiving an early offer of admission. The simple answer is no. Some applicants with excellent grades and great applications were given early offers of admission to some of our most competitive programs despite having studied at a high adjustment factor school. Certainly, applicants from low adjustment factor schools had a slight advantage in the process but no schools were blacklisted as some individuals have suggested.
For those applicants who have not yet received an offer of admission, please note that we have a high quality applicant pool. Our admissions team will be carefully reviewing each applicant over the next two months to select the best applicants in the pool. As an applicant, the best thing you can do in preparation for university at this time is to focus on your secondary school courses.